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ArchCity Defenders Presents ‘Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards’ to Honor and Inspire Reporting on Race, Class and Poverty

July 13, 2018

Less than one percent of media coverage discusses poverty. The lack of reporting on issues impacting marginalized communities misconstrues poverty as a personal failing—not the systemic problem it is. ArchCity’s ‘Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards’ hopes to change that.

On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at Anew Rooftop in St. Louis, Missouri, ArchCity Defenders held the second annual ‘Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards’ to recognize and honor journalists who contributed in-depth reporting on poverty, race and class. In May, ArchCity invited the community to nominate reporters for pieces dedicated to issues which impact marginalized communities.

Journalists and contributors from nearly 30 local media outlets were nominated from the Belleville News-Democrat, DELUX Magazine, St. Louis Jewish Light, KDHX. BluesLetter, KMOV, KOMU-8, KPLR-11, St. Louis Public Radio, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Red Latina STL, Riverfront Times, Shredded Mag, The St. Louis American, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Review, Webster-Kirkwood Times, Webster Journal, and West End Word.

A panel of three judges, comprised of John Ammann, Nancy Cambria, and Mariah Stewart, reviewed and selected the winners in the Advocacy, Audio/Visual, and Digital/Print categories. ArchCity Defenders concluded the Awards by presenting Dr. Donald Suggs, Publisher and Executive Editor of The St. Louis American, with the “Lifetime Achievement Award in Poverty Journalism Excellence.”

A list of the categories and respective awardees:



Joel Sjerven, “The life of Grover Perry, if he hadn’t died homeless,” The St. Louis American

Audio / Visual

Tim Lloyd and Kameel Stanley, “We Live Here Podcast: Season 3: Out of the Ville Pt. 1 and 2,” St. Louis Public Radio

Cara Anthony and Julian Lim, “Then I Knew,” Belleville News-Democrat

Digital/Print (small and large circulation)

Small Circulation Winner
Andrew McMunn, “Former Webster student Francis Ladege deported to South Sudan,” and “Former Webster University student detained by ICE, threatened with deportation,” Webster Journal

Large Circulation Finalists
Ashley Lisenby, “Inside the St. Louis Workhouse: Conditions, treatment and time served remain under scrutiny,” Sharing America, St. Louis Public Radio
Sophie Hurwitz, “Undercover Workhouse tour reveals overworked staff and frustrated inmates,” St. Louis American

Large Circulation Winner
Caitlin Lee and Clark Randall, “Foreclosures devastated South St. Louis. Nathan Cooper Saw Opportunity,” Riverfront Times

Throughout the event, ArchCity Defenders encouraged attendees to come together and rethink the way stories are written about the endemic issues that affect families all around St. Louis. Featuring a “What Stories Need to Be Told?” board, attendees contributed story ideas such as the impact of payday lending on stress, over-investment in policing and jailing, and profiles of people who are targeted by the criminal legal system. A link to the story ideas as well as pictures from the event will be posted online.

The event was co-hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri.


Media Contact:
Z. Gorley, Communications Director at ArchCity Defenders